CVS Funds South Linden Apartment Renovations As Part Of Health Initiative

Sep 16, 2020

The Rosewind Apartments, a low-income housing complex in Columbus’ South Linden neighborhood, is about to undergo a $13.7 million transformation, with renovations and health programming funded by CVS Health.

The complex is comprised of 230 units. Some homes are occupied, whereas others have boarded-up doors and windows.

“Those units are about 20 years old, I think, and have had a lot of wear and tear,” says Holly Borghese. “It’s my understanding, and what they promised us, is that no one would be displaced.”

Borghese is a representative for 614 for Linden, a collaborative of nonprofits that aims to advance the city’s One Linden Community Plan that the city announced in 2019.

“Updating Rosewind and having clean, updated, healthy places for people to live affordably is very important,” Borghese says. “And they are single family units, which is also really important in Linden.”

About 700 people currently live in the complex. Jameica Mackey is one of them, and has lived in Rosewind for six years. She is hopeful that the construction will be good for the property and its residents.

“I don’t know what the apartments is gonna look like after they renovate them, but it seems like it’s just gonna be smooth sailing, just moving people in or out to a different residence that’s already renovated or whatever,” Mackey says.

Street view of Rosewind Apartment Complex in South Linden, which has 230 units.
Credit Adora Namigadde / WOSU

Closing Health Disparities

The renovations are part of a larger effort by CVS Health to address inequality in predominately Black neighborhoods across the country over the next five years.

CVS chief community health officer Garth Graham says some of the health programming will include an educational cooking series with Local Matters and a program to help new mothers and pregnant women. The latter will be aimed at helping reduce the infant mortality rate in the neighborhood.

“The infant mortality in South Linden is about 25.7 deaths per 1,000 live births, compared to 8.5 infant deaths per 1,000 live births in Franklin County,” Graham explains.

He says the reconstruction and the programming will unfold over the next few months.

“Our goal is to do both, to provide these on-site health programs and community programs for health and wellness, screenings for COVID-19. That's another thing we want to do, improve access to COVID-19 screening there,” Graham says.

CVS Health does not have a clear timeline on when health programming will be implemented or renovations will begin, let alone when construction might wrap up.

Borghese says the Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority has a plan to prevent any residents from being displaced.

“Anyone who wants to stay at Rosewind would just be put in a new renovated unit within Rosewind and that if someone wants to leave, they would be given a voucher to go somewhere else,” Borghese explains.

For her part, Mackey has decided to go.

“Well, they gave me the option to move, which is what I’m gonna do because I lost my mom in this apartment, so I don’t wanna be here anymore,” Mackey says. “So I’m just waiting for them to let me know if I can move or not. But I think it’s nice that they’re trying to renovate them.”